Thoracic cancer surgery to stay in Windsor

Windsor Regional Hospital has been designated a Level 2 thoracic cancer centre.

Windsor West Liberal MPP Teresa Piruzza made announcement Monday on CBC Windsor Morning

Windsor Regional Hospital has been designated a Level 2 thoracic cancer centre. (Amy Dodge/CBC News)

CBC News was first to learn the Ministry of Health and Cancer Care Ontario will allow Windsor Regional Hospital to continue performing thoracic cancer surgery.

Windsor West Liberal MPP Teresa Piruzza broke the news on CBC Windsor Morning with host Tony Doucette.

She also said Windsor Regional Hospital has been designated a Level 2 thoracic cancer centre

Piruzza said she received the call confirming the news on the weekend.

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj said at a media conference Monday morning  he got the news on his way to work.He called it “a great day for the hospital."

The decision means the city will not lose its thoracic surgery service or see patients head to London for the procedure.

Piruzza said the decision was "based on the strong case we brought forward for Windsor’s unique circumstances."

Piruzza met with Cancer Care Ontario officials and Health Minister Deb Matthews on Nov. 7. Last week, Windsor Regional Hospital sent a letter to Cancer Care Ontario outlining its case to be designated Level 2.

“We are aware of the Hon. Minister Matthew’s [sic] announcement today that Windsor Regional Hospital will be designated a level 2 thoracic surgery cancer centre. We will continue to work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the Windsor community, hospitals and the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program to ensure our patients receive access to high quality cancer services," Cancer Care Ontario president and CEO Michael Sherar said in a statement. "Windsor Regional Hospital will continue to receive funding for cancer services as a level 2 thoracic centre.”

Piruzza said there were "many good reasons" why Windsor doctors should keep performing thoracic surgery.

"She’s convinced to maintain the program locally," Piruzza said of Matthews. "I would like to thank the Minister for her attention and assistance on this important community issue."

Piruzza wasn’t sure if the decision will increase the hospital’s capacity for cancer surgery.

"Certainly, they’ll be able to maintain what they have been doing," Piruzza said."We will continue to receive all the funding, that includes base and incremental."

Musyj said the number of thoracic surgeries performed in Windsor could grow.

Cancer Care Ontario previously ordered Windsor Regional Hospital to stop performing the procedure and sent patients to London beginning in March.

Cancer Care Ontario gave Windsor Regional Hospital a Dec. 1 deadline to come up with a plan to transfer thoracic cancer surgeries to London or risk losing all funding for all cancer surgeries in Windsor.

"I recognize the anxiety it placed upon the whole community," Piruzza said. "Whether it had to happen this way or how those discussions took place, it was an ongoing discussion."


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